Tom Murphy – Murphy's Law

Tom Murphy blogging about PR and other things since 2002…

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Public Speaking

June 26th, 2008 · 3 Comments · Off-topic

I’m sure you’ve seen research that shows that speaking in public is one of the greatest sources of fear for modern man.

For the lucky ones it’s a skill to be learned, for the rest of us it’s something to struggle with.

Of course just because you don’t have Steve Jobs’ public speaking ability, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.  The reality is that with practice and preparation you’ll be well able to address an audience.

However… you do have to make the effort.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve attended a range of events and I’ve been amazed how often the “speaker” has stood up, pulled out their speech and just read it, stopping every three sentences to look at the audience, left, then right and then back to reading.

Eh, hello?

To be honest I’d love to stop them and tell them to save us both a lot of time and e-mail us the speech and we can read it ourselves :-) .

I think 99.9% of the population (including me), completely empathises (and suffers) with the fear of public speaking, but if you have to do it, then prepare.

Don’t read to us.

Talk to us.

Tell a story, take us on a journey.

It doesn’t have to be slick, it doesn’t have to have us rolling in the aisles.

But I will tell you this.

Looking the audience in the eye and talking to them, although it may be nerve wracking, is far more compelling than reading to them.

Afraid of forgetting something? Afraid of stumbling or making a mistake?

We’re all human, don’t worry – and believe me, we’ll give you far more attention if you try it.

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Damien Mulley

    Mulley’s Second Law of Presentations: Always include a pic of a cute baby at the start of a presentation as the glowly feelings they get from it will be projected on to you. An almost instant advantage.

  • Stuart Bruce

    But Tom you always have us rolling in the aisles :)

  • Gerry

    I did the oratory thang just this morning to a group of around 200 Govt Comms people – one master background slide, no PPT, the odd scribble on a Flipchart, 45mins plus lively Q&A session – storytelling/blarney/craic comes easy to us Celts tho Tom, eh?

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